Phoenix Resident Files Suit Against Trader Joes After Becoming Seriously Ill with E. Coli O157 Infection

Internationally-recognized food safety expert, Bill Marler, of the MarlerClark Food Safety Law Firm is representing the plaintiff in the lawsuit

In 2013, a total of 33 people in four states became seriously ill after eating salad tainted with a rare strain of E. coli O157:H7. Only one of those victims, Steven Rabinowitz, was from Arizona and with the help of food safety law firm, MarlerClark, has filed suit against Glass Onion Catering, who produced the salad, and grocery store chain, Trader Joe’s, which sold the poisoned product. The case number is 3:14-cv-03994.

Rabinowitz, who purchased a Glass Onion salad from Trader Joe’s in mid-October and consumed it soon after, began feeling ill around October 19. The symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 can include bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, fever, and bloody diarrhea. Severe cases sometimes can develop into hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening condition with no known treatment.

After a few agonizing days waiting for his mystery illness to subside, Rabinowitz was admitted to the Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center for emergency care. After exhaustive diagnostic tests—which included a CT scan and an emergency colonoscopy—Rabinowitz eventually tested positive for E. coli O157. His colonoscopy also revealed a side effect of his infection: pancolitis, a very severe form of ulterative colitis—a kind of inflammatory bowel disorder that affects the entire internal lining of the colon.

Rabinowitz wasn’t well enough to leave the hospital for more than a week. He was monitored closely by medical professionals in the weeks that followed his release and now, over six months later, continues to recover.

“The conversation around food safety is often centered on meat and underprepared foods,” said Bill Marler, founding partner of MarlerClark. “The reality is fruits, vegetables, and associated products, like prepared salads, can be just as dangerous if proper precautions and safe handling practices aren’t followed. This is exactly why Mr. Rabinowitz and others had to go through the agony they did.”

Marler has been on the front lines of food safety for more than two decades. Some of his first related clients stemmed from the outbreak E. coli O157: H7 traced back to the fast food chain Jack in the Box in the early 1990s and included Brianne Kiner, the sickest child to survive her bout with the potentially deadly infection.

The law firm of Rains Lucia Stern, PC are serving as local council on this case, which was filed in the United States District Court of Northern District of California where the defendants operate and are headquartered.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.